Control of Abitibi-Price Inc., the world's largest newsprint newspaper producer, was acquired today by Olympia and York Investments Ltd. of Toronto, ending a takeover fight that began in January.
A $32-a-share bid by Olympia was made on the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver stock exchanges prior to the opening of regualr trading.
About 16.8 million shares were purchased today, lifting the Olympia interest in the company to about 88 percent. The bid was extended to March 13.
Thomson Newspapers Ltd. headed by Toronto press baron Kenneth Thompson, dropped its $31-a-share bid for Abitibi on Monday. Thomson made its offer in partnership with Nu-West Group Ltd., a Calgary-based real estate developer. They were seeking 45 percent of the stock.
The victory by Olympia, owned by members of the Reichmann family of Toronto, was followed quickly by peace efforts. Olympia asked Thomson and John Tory, vice chariman of the Thomson chain, to remain on the Abitibi board and they agreed.
Abitibi supplies Thomson with about 63 percent of its newsprint requirements. The assets and annual sales of Abitibi exceed $1 billion.
The bidding for Abitibi began in January, when the stock was trading at about $22.50 a share. The first bidder was Federal Commerce and Navigation Ltd., a Montreal shipping company. It acquired about 10 percent of the stock and announced a public bid at $27.50.
The Federal bid was dropped when Olympia announced its original offer of $28 for 36 percent of the shares. But Federal quickly acquired about 10 percent of the shares through private transactions with two large shareholders.
Thomson and Nu-West topped the Olympia $28 bid with an offer of $31, but withdrew its bid when Olympia offered $32.